Louvre Abu Dhabi by Jean Nouvel
Images / Text by Stephan Luecke. Copyright by desMena.
Louvre Abu Dhabi, designed by Jean Nouvel for the new Cultural District on Saadiyat Island.
Jean Nouvel’s Louvre Abu Dhabi is an extraordinary example for the great possibilities that lie within a sensitive design approach that does not forget about the genius loci while creating a unique recognizable shape branding the building unmistakeably as one of Saadiyat Islands cultural heavyweights.
The complex will house long-term loans from the French Louvre, but also from other major French institutions such as the Quai Branly Museum, The George Pompidou Centre, Musee d’Orsay, Versailles, Guimet and the Rodin Museum as part of an 30-year-agreement between the Emirate and the French Ministry of Culture.
In addition temporary exhibitions will be organized annually in the Louvre Abu Dhabi, which will be included in the program of international exhibitions exchanged between major museums worldwide.
France will benefit from this agreement by receiving payments from Abu Dhabi that will contribute to restoration projects such as the restoration of the Chateau of Fontainebleau in France.
At the announcement of the project in January 2007, Jean Nouvel described how the design was influenced by Saadiyat’s natural surroundings.
“The island offers a harsh landscape, tempered by its meeting with the channel, a striking image of the aridity of the earth versus the fluidity of the waters,” said Nouvel.
“These fired the imagination towards unknown cities buried deep into the sands or sunk under water. These dreamy thoughts have merged into a simple plan of an archaeological field revived as a small city, a cluster of nearly one-row buildings along a leisurely promenade.
This micro-city requires a micro-climate that would give the visitor a feeling of entering a different world. The building is covered with a large dome, a form common to all civilisations.
This one is made of a web of different patterns interlaced into a translucent ceiling which lets a diffuse, magical light come through in the best tradition of great Arabian architecture.
Water is given a crucial role, both in reflecting every part of the building and acting as a psyche, and in creating, with a little help from the wind, a comfortable micro- climate that will give visitors a feeling of entering a different world.”